Will ethnic Azerbaijani citizens of Georgia take part in the October 8, 2016 Parliamentary Elections? – the journalist of Human Rights House Tbilisi interviewed residents of Kvemo Kartli region.
In accordance to the 2014 Georgian Census, ethnic Azerbaijani citizens make 6.3% of the Georgian population. The report of the European Center for Minority Issues reads that over 40% of ethnic Azerbaijani population in Marneuli, Bolnisi and Dmanisi municipalities participated in the 2012 Parliamentary Elections.
Mahir Khalilov from Kizilajlo village in Marneuli municipality is not going to take part in the October 8 elections.
“Our single mandate MP has not resolved any of our problems. We still do not have gas and water supplies. You see how bad conditions our roads are in. For years, they promise solution of problems but nothing is done. We are bothered with unemployment … I do not expect any improvements after local or parliamentary elections. I will not go to vote,” Mahir Khalilov said.
Aslan Badalov from Marneuli said he does not know newly established political parties and is not interested in the [upcoming] parliamentary elections because single mandate MPs never get interested in the problems of people. “We are not aware of the election programs of political parties. Nobody [from political parties] have come to our village and asked about our problems. Why should I vote for them?!”
Sanan Gurbanov from Pakhrali village, Bolnisi municipality, is the fourth year student of the Law Faculty at the Tbilisi State University. He said people have less trust to political parties now.
“During the 2012 Parliamentary Elections 50% of population took part in the polls in the Azerbaijani inhabited municipalities. In the last year local self-governmental elections, the turnout of voters decreased to 32%. The reason is that candidates give many promises to people but after being elected they forget about them. For that reason, people have less and less trust towards political parties,” Gurbanov said.
Elmedin Mammadov lives in Darbazi village, Marneuli municipality. He studies at the faculty of European Studies in the Ilia University. He will participate in the elections for sure and will vote for one of the young single mandate candidates. “I have information about the programs of several political parties but not of many. Ethnic Azerbaijani people, who do not know the state language, cannot get information about the programs of political parties. Thus, people mostly vote for those parties and candidates, whom they know better.”
Ziadkhan Garakhanov from Marneuli is not going to elections. “Party leaders mostly visit big cities. They do not meet people in the villages. If they do not meet us, why should we believe that they will get interested in our problems after elections? It is the reason why I will not go to vote. I do not want to vote for a party or a candidate, for whom my vote is not important,” Ziadkhan Garakhanov said.
Naili Gojaeva, from Ormasheni village in Dmanisi municipality, has never participated in elections. “I will go to the elections but have not yet decided whom to vote. I do not know which parties and candidates participate in the polls. Majority of Azerbaijani women does not care about politics. Many of them do not have adequate education; others, like me, do not have information. Generally, I do not trust in the promises of political parties.”